Systems Toxicology Approach to Understand the Kinetics of Benzo(a)pyrene Uptake, Biotransformation, and DNA Adduct Formation in a Liver Cell Model
Cell-based models are important for deriving mechanistic information about stress response pathways that have evolved to protect cells from toxic insult, such as exposure to environmental pollutants. One determinant of the stress response is the amount of chemical entering the cell and the cell's ability to detoxify and remove the chemical. lithe stress response is overwhelmed, an adverse outcome will ensue. It was the goal of our study to quantify uptake and elimination rates of benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), a ubiquitous environmental pollutant, in a murine liver cell line. We evaluated the kinetic behavior in the context of BaP uptake, biotransformation, DNA adduct formation and repair along with the transcriptional and cell proliferation response. A low (50 nM) and a high (5 mu M) BaP concentration were chosen in order to differentiate the role of exposure concentration in the time-resolved interaction of BaP with cells. While rates of uptake and the initial transcriptional response were similar for both BaP concentrations, cells exposed to 50 nM BaP completely recovered from exposure within 24 h, whereas cells exposed to 5 mu M BaP did not. Biotransformation proceeded faster on 50 nM BaP, and the few DNA adducts formed were completely repaired after transient cell cycle arrest. In contrast, DNA adducts greatly accumulated in cells exposed to 5 mu M BaP, despite significant biotransformation; complete cell cycle arrest and toxicity evolved. On the basis of the kinetic rate constants and cellular response, we conclude that at least short-term, pulsed exposures to SO nM BaP, which we consider environmentally relevant, can be handled by cells without adverse outcome. Further studies are needed to determine the ability of cells to recover from repeated exposure. Our study emphasizes the importance of quantifying chemical uptake and fate in cell models to differentiate a stress response from an adverse outcome for better risk assessment.